Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called an early general election for April 28 on Friday, setting the stage for a divisive vote that could tilt the country toward the nationalist right.
Sanchez, whose minority Socialist government has relied on support from regional and smaller parties, called the election after Catalans who had previously backed him joined with opposition parties in defeating his 2019 budget bill this week.
Opinion polls show no single party would win the seats to govern on its own, pointing to lengthy negotiations between three or more parties. Those could potentially include the far-right Vox party in what would be a first for Spain in the post-Franco era.
In a televised address that bore hallmarks of a campaign speech, Sanchez said he could not govern without a budget. Laying out his government's achievements, he said he was seeking a broader majority to pursue a social reform agenda.